Sunflower Oil

What is Sunflower Oil

Sunflower seed oil, or simply sunflower oil, is one of the most popular and widely-used culinary oils around the world. This oil is extracted from the black seeds found in the sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and is non-volatile by nature. In the present world market, the largest producers of sunflower oil are Ukraine, Russia and Argentina. However, in 1835, it was in the Russian Empire that this oil was first produced industrially.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower Oil

Other Names of Sunflower Oil

In Bengali: Shurjomukhi tel

In Chinese: Kuíhuāzǐyóu In French: Huile de tournesol

In German: Sonnenblumenöl

In Hindi: Soorajmookhi ka tel

In Irish: Ola lus na gréine

In Italian: Olio di girasole

In Japanese: Himawari-yu

In Sanskrit: Sooryakaantitailam

In Spanish: Aceite de girasol

In Tamil: Suriya gandhi ennai

In Telugu: Poddu tirugudu puvvu

Physical Properties

Chemical composition: The oil derived from sunflower seeds is predominately a monounsaturated (MUFA)/polyunsaturated (PUFA) mixture of oleic acid (omega-9)-linoleic acid (omega-6) group of oils.

Ingredients Amount Comments
Percentage of oil in the seeds 22 to 36% average: 28%
Percentage of oil in the kernel 45–55%

  1. Lecithin
  2. Cephalin

  1. 38.5%
  2. 61.5%
occur in combination with carbohydrates and protein
Squalene Sufficient amount
Methyl Ketones chiefly methyl nonyl ketone
Other aliphatic hydrocarbons
Vitamin E 6.1 mg in one tablespoon serving

Color: Expressed sunflower oil is clear and is light amber in color, whereas refined sunflower oil is of pale yellow color.

Sunflower Oil Photos

Sunflower Oil Photos

Odor: Refined sunflower oil has a mildly fatty odor. Taste: Both refined and unrefined sunflower oil is primarily tasteless. Flavor: When expressed, sunflower oil has a mild and pleasant flavor. Sunflower oil has good keeping qualities and when stored, it hardly reverses its flavor with time. Texture: Sunflower oil possesses a relatively low viscosity (thickness) relative to most other commonly-used oils. Hence it gets absorbed easily by other absorbents. The oil is thin of texture and doesn’t leave a greasy/shiny residue, when applied on any surface. Smoke Point: Refined – 232 °C (450 °F), Unrefined – 107 °C (225 °F)

Types of Sunflower Oil

Both genetics and climate strongly influence the variation in the unsaturated fatty acids profile of the oil. Here is the list of the types of sunflower oil:

Name Minimum Percentage of Oleic Acid
High Oleic 82%
Mid Oleic 69%
High Linoleic 21%

Sunflower oil extraction process

It can be extracted by using chemical solvents like hexane, while, expeller pressed sunflower oil is squeezed out directly by crushing the sunflower seeds. Cold-pressed sunflower seed oil under low-temperature conditions is a more common method those who prefer an extraction process that does not involve chemical solvents, as well as for those who are following raw-food diets.

How to Store

Normally, the shelf life of sunflower oil is almost one year. The nutrient loss can be avoided by manufacturing and storing the oil at low temperatures and in bottles made of either dark-colored glass, or, plastic bottles treated with UV light resistance.

Sunflower Oil Nutrition Facts

Nutritional values per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Standard Sunflower Oil High Oleic Sunflower Oil(70% and over) Mid Oleic Sunflower Oil (NuSun)
Energy 3,699 kJ (884 kcal) 3,699 kJ (884 kcal) 3,699 kJ (884 kcal)
Carbohydrates 0 g 0 g 0 g

  • Saturated
  • Monounsaturated
  • Polyunsaturated
100 g

  • 10.3 g
  • 19.5 g
  • 65.7 g
100 g

  • 9.748 g
  • 83.594 g
  • 3.798 g
100 g

  • 9.009 g
  • 57.344 g
  • 28.962 g
Protein 0 g 0 g 0 g

  • Vitamin E
  • (274%)

41.08 mg

  • (5%)

5.4 μg

  • (274%)

41.08 mg

  • (5%)

5.4 μg

  • (274%)

41.08 mg

  • (5%)

5.4 μg

Units: μg = micrograms; mg = milligrams; IU = International units Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Sunflower Oil Pictures

Sunflower Oil Pictures

Sunflower Oil Health Benefits

Keeps heart healthy and energizes naturally: Sunflower oil has the property to lower chances of cardiovascular diseases, and thus, any possible chance of a heart attack. This oil contains selenium. The presence of enough selenium in the blood reduces chances of heart diseases. Sunflower oil can bring in a lot of natural energy, for example, if consumed as salad dressing.

Cuts down infant infection risks: One great benefit of sunflower oil for babies is that, it can minimize the risks of infections caused from low weight at birth and pre-maturely born babies. Sunflower oil shields infants as a protective barrier since they are prone to pick up infections because of undeveloped organs and skin.

Acts as natural antioxidant and fights cancer: Due to the presence of high amount of vitamin E, sunflower oil can inhibit oxidation in human body, neutralizes the property of free radicals damaging the cells and the immune system in the human body, and thus, acts as a good natural antioxidant. This helpful oil can also prevent asthma and even from such unwanted diseases like colon cancer. The substances named carotenoids and selenium found in sunflower oil, helps prevent other forms of cancer like uterine, lung and skin.

Acts as natural moisturizer: The vitamin E in this oil helps the cells retain water and thus serves as a natural moisturizer.

Protects from arthritis and cataract: Sunflower oil has also the virtuous property to help prevent rheumatoid arthritis. Carotenoids also aids in preventing cataracts of the eyes, as also serves as a nice source of vitamin A.

Enhances a healthy nervous system: The presence of vitamin B in the oil has made it promoting a healthy and sound nervous system.

Good for hepatic degradation, digestion and constipation: Vitamin B in the oil also helps in the process of digestion. Sunflower oil is also a good choice for easing constipation. Selenium in the oil also reduces the chances of hepatic degradation.

Lowering levels of cholesterol: Because of the presence of a substance called lecithin, which protects the body from accumulating fat and protects from the bad LDL cholesterol by sticking to the cell and nerve linings, this oil also serves as a good weapon to keep the cholesterol levels low.

Helps repair the body and enhances healthy immune system: Presence of an adequate amount of protein in this oil has made it a good source for building and repairing body tissues, as also in creation and production of hormones and enzymes. Sunflower seed oil is also rich in folic acid, helping the body manufacture new cells. Because sunflower oil also contains zinc, it aids in maintaining a healthy immune system, as also maintaining the senses of taste and smell.

Sunflower Seed Oil

Sunflower Seed Oil

Sunflower Oil for Teeth

Sunflower oil has long been used in oral health practices, though unproven. It had been used as one of the oils recommended for use in a process named Sunflower Oil Pulling. In this pre-scientific traditional practice, oil was swished in the mouth to supposedly improve oral health.

Sunflower Oil Uses

Other than in cuisines, sunflower oil also has other uses in different arenas:

  • In cosmetics, sunflower oil has smoothing properties. It is considered noncomedogenic. However, only the high oleic Sunflower oil possesses shelf life that is sufficient for the formulation of commercial cosmetics.
  • Sunflower oil is also a good ingredient in manufacturing make soap.
  • It is also an ingredient in making sunflower butter.
  • When mixed with diesel in the tank, sunflower oil can well be used for running diesel engines.
  • Sunflower oil is also extensively used in the food industry for making salad dressings.

Where to buy sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is easily available in the market, especially in grocery shops or shopping malls. Sunflower oil is not much expensive.

Is sunflower oil bad for you


Those who are allergic to Asteraceae/Compositae plant family (daisies, ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums etc.) can develop allergy from sunflower oil.


A high sunflower oil diet might increase the blood sugar and fasting insulin level. Also, in people with type 2 diabetes, this might as well increase after-meal blood fats, which in turn, might lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

During pregnancy

There is not enough evidence whether sunflower oil is good or bad during pregnancy or for a breast-feeding mother. So, to be on the safe side, it is advisable to refrain from using it during these times.

Other possible negative effects

Sunflower oil has a higher content of omega−6 linoleic acid (48–74%) than it is found in most other vegetable oils, which might have a negative health effect on postmenopausal women, who might acquire breast cancer. A similar effect was also noticed on prostate cancer. However, this topic is debatable because the study was performed on mice. Yet one more study had indicated that, when sunflower oil is heated to frying temperature for extended periods, it produces aldehydes, which might be associated with some neuro-degenerative diseases.

Sunflower Oil Images

Sunflower Oil Images

Sunflower Oil Interesting Facts

  • As a frying oil, sunflower oil behaves typically as a vegetable triglyceride.
  • The law of South Africa does not allow anyone to use sunflower oil for the production of biodiesel.
  • In UK, a substantial amount of sunflower is used to produce sunflower oil.
  • Sunflower oil’s INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) name is Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil.
  • In recent times, quite a few varieties of sunflower oilseeds have been produced by methods of standard (non-GMO) plant breeding.
  • Originally, the sunflower oilseed had high content of linoleic acid (LA), which is a polyunsaturated ω-6 fatty acid.


  • by
  • August 4th 2014

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